Media reports following US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to Pyongyang last week painted a dire picture of denuclearization talks, seizing on a statement released by North Korea's Foreign Ministry decrying the Trump administration's "gangster-like" approach. The letter was dated July 6, 2018, and was addressed to "H.E. Donald J. Trump", in what appears to be the latest sign that the two men were getting along after making history at the first-ever meeting between a sitting US president and North Korean supreme leader in Singapore last month.
He expressed his hope that "the invariable trust and confidence" the president has in him will be "further strengthened in the future process of taking practical actions".
An estimated 30,000 U.S. soldiers died in the 1950-53 Korean war.
Seoul's presidential office has said the suspension of the combined exercise could facilitate ongoing nuclear talks between North Korea and the United States.
"We agreed to the denuclearization of North Korea".
The letter comes days after the North Korean Foreign Ministry released a statement accusing the US of "ganster-like" demands and trying to unilaterally pressure the country into abandoning its nuclear weapons. Pyongyang has asked the UN Command Armistice Commission to upgrade the talks to a higher level to include a US general, South Korea's foreign ministry said.
Pompeo said his counterpart Kim Yong Chol in North Korea "made a commitment" that North Korea intends "to denuclearize".
North Korea reportedly has the remains of about 5,300 United States soldiers who were killed during the Korean War, which ended with an armistice in 1953. The U.S. also risks giving the North Koreans leverage to continue diplomacy and drag out disarmament talks.
"Repatriation of US remains from North Korea will be important not just to American families, but to building trust between the USA and North Korea as well", Pompeo said earlier this week.
Ever since Trump's summit with Kim in Singapore, critics have slammed the president for not doing more to challenge Kim, elevating a dictator on the global stage, and touting a pact the two leaders signed which doesn't provide any solid agreement for a denuclearization plan.